Connect in the back of the net

Manchester United have completed the signing of Victor Lindelof from Portuguese side Benfica.

The announcement was made on Wednesday after the centre-back successfully underwent a medical, becoming Jose Mourinho’s first signing of the summer – in his second season at the club.

Lindelof cost United a whooping £31m, surpassing the £29.1m paid to Leeds for Rio Ferdinand in 2002 to become the club’s most expensive defender.

The signing comes on the back end of a mid-season injury crisis that made United’s defense less salubrious; barely hanging on as the club competed on three separate fronts.

The welcoming of Victor Lindelof to Old Trafford may well mark the beginning of a chastening season for Manchester United, more so with more arrivals expected before the close of the summer transfer window.

 

Salt and pepper

Lindelof exudes calmness and composure which makes him the perfect partner for Eric Bailly at the heart of United’s defense.

Together they form the football equivalent of the yin and the yang; Lindelof being the cool head with gifted technical ability while Eric, well, the pantomime villain not afraid to put a foot out.

The two have drawn contrast with the romanticism associated with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, already setting the stage for promising 2017/18 Premier League campaign.

 

Immensely experienced

Lindelof has compounded years of experience under his belt it’s easy to forget that he is just 22 years old.

The move to Benfica as a reserve in 2012 was pivotal in his development, as it prepared him for a senior role – one in which he would exceed and excel.

The young Swedish international has amassed a wealth of experience in both the Primeira Liga and the Champions League, and was an integral part of Rui Vitoria’s side that claimed the Portuguese domestic double last season.

Manchester United played a staggering 64 games on their way to winning the Community Shield, EFL Cup [now the Carabao Cup] and the Europa League in the last campaign while Lindelof on the other hand featured 47-times for Benfica last season.

Who is to argue an injury-free workhorse won’t walk right into that United team?

 

Long-term prospect

Manchester United’s defensive woes may soon become a foregone conclusion with the acquisition of Lindelof, as Mourinho looks to form a long-term defensive partnership of Eric Bailly and the Swedish centre-back.

From his days at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho has a history of selecting compact defensive partnerships.

The centre-back combination of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof is a solid culmination of talent and sheer horsepower, one that promises to bud into a formidable defensive partnership for the long haul.

 

Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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